Motherer’s Day

Patricia Stone (Akimel O’otham) and Leonard Stone (Akimel O’otham) with their new baby, 1965. Gila River Indian Community, Arizona. (National Museum of the American Indian)


Indigenous peoples revere Mother Earth. Ancestral knowledge teaches that all life is sacred, and women are the givers of life. All women who fill a mother’s role for others are recognized. Respect and appreciation for mothers and parents is deeply embedded in Asian and Pacific Islander cultures. Celebrating Dia de las Madres can take days of preparation!  In Black communities, Mother’s Day is special for all mamas, aunties, grandmas, big sisters, caregivers and nurturers of the community.

I miss my mother. She was 88 when she died in Marina del Rey in 2008, six years after I moved to Los Angeles. How much she must have missed her own mother who died when my mom was 25, pregnant with me, her first baby. This holiday can be filled with loss and mourning, especially now during the pandemic when millions of women have to put their lives on hold to tend children and/or elders, and too many families have lost mothers without being able to squeeze their hands.  

On this Mother’s Day, may you and I celebrate the dedication and love of mothers in all forms. May all the moms who are facing hardship, struggling financially, incarcerated, detained, or serving on the front lines, find some rest, solace and practical support. May each of us in our own way honor the life-giving power, courage and spirit of motherers everywhere.

“The need to protect and nurture young is a biological imperative shared by a surprising array of creatures. … the lioness purring as she licks her cub’s belly, or a fox carrying her kit to safety by the scruff of its neck, or…the nurturing animals that we don’t associate with nurturing at all: the wolf spider carrying her tiny spiderlings on her back, the alligator tenderly carrying her baby in her mouth, the timber rattlesnake protectively encircling her hatchlings, the broad-headed skink silently guarding hereggs in the dark.” (Margaret Renki, New York Times) 

From the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s teaching on loving-kindness:

Just as a mother would protect her only child with her own life,
So with a boundless heart may you cherish all living beings.

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